If there’s one human resources process that draws more heated debate than any other, it’s the performance review. The existing model has a 75-year history, initially serving as a means to justify one’s salary. Much has changed and the general consensus today is that it serves nothing more than a tick and flick exercise of what was, with no direct relationship to strategy and culture. Although important, the once a year, manual performance reviews are often regarded as tedious, time consuming necessities, where value is often questioned. Many managers see performance reviews as nothing more than an empty, bureaucratic exercise forced on them by HR.

Aligning Performance

This supports the general view that most employees are unaware of specific business objectives and what they can do to meet them. Having said that, armed with the right strategy and tools, a forward thinking business will discover that automating performance reviews not only takes the pain out of the process, but actually drives employee productivity and engagement.

Automated performance reviews provide a consistent framework for managing and measuring performance metrics of strategic goals. These goals cascade all the way down the organisation chart and align with business strategy. More importantly, employees and managers understand how their individual goals match up with the company’s overall business objectives.

Paperless Performance Management Processes

From a HR manager’s perspective, a workflow driven process means the end of the paper chase. It brings valuable information to life and into the business where it can be actioned. Managers stay up to date on employees’ progress, allowing them to provide immediate response and keep performance on track. Executives armed with real time access to centralised and historical performance analytics can get powerful insights both vertically and horizontally. This means they can clearly map out future strategies, expectations and rewards for each employee. In doing so, they are creating a transparent pay for performance culture that can dramatically improve productivity.

Performance Management System Features

Some of the features to look for in a HR system include:

  • A browser based portal with workflow driven review and approval process;
  • A configurable system of notification and reminders facilitating an exception based process;
  • A goal setting engine to define your specific targets,
  • KPI’s, KRA’s with scoring and detailed note taking for employee and managers;
  • An analytics layers to track and report on progress against targets and identify strengths, weaknesses, needs and trends of employees and teams.

Perhaps the most important feature is the capability engine. This defines your central framework of a measurable and meaningful set of competencies, behaviours, and skills. These can then be linked to a unit of demand, such as a person, position, job, project or training. This is the currency between capabilities and needs, facilitating the exchange of talent supply with business demand. If configured correctly, it integrates all the HR processes, mapping the journey between recruitment, measurement, development, succession and reward. For the employee it means a clearer, more actionable understanding of what they need to do to be successful.

Automated Performance Management Solution

Embracing an automated solution removes the effort and pain associated with manual performance reviews. It cascades your business strategy throughout the entire organisation, making it visible and actionable. But more importantly, by making assessment an ongoing process, it fosters a transparent environment of dialogue, where the individual can contribute to their own and ultimately, the company’s success.

Social Interactivity in Performance Management

Having said that, there’s a whole new generation of performance management tools that offer an opportunity for continuous feedback, supporting motivation and engagement, and fosters and environment of optimal performance. The industry has already recognised this paradigm shift, and vendors are introducing these elements into their solutions. Known as Social Performance Management, the processes will be redefined, shifting away from transactional, process-based to engagement, people-based. On a holistic level the HRIS will become a tool of community, fostering connections, collaboration and innovation with higher employee enablement and engagement.

Social performance management instills engagement and collaboration into the workplace by allowing employees to connect organically through conversation, recognition and feedback. This natural process offers closer and continuous alignment to organisational goals and objectives. The end result is a cultural transformation with tangible benefits and a happier workforce.